Ramazan is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and heightened devotion and worship. Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam.
Muslims devote more time to prayer and acts of charity, striving to improve their self-discipline, motivated by hadith: “When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and devils are put in chains”.
In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking during this time, Muslims try to abstain from sexual relations and sinful thought ,speech and behavior.
The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities. Muslims believe that Ramadan teaches them to practice self-discipline, self-control,sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate, thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity (zakat).
Muslims hold that all scriptures was revealed during Ramadan, the scrolls of Abraham, Torah, Psalms, Gospel, and Quran having been handed down on the first, sixth, twelfth, thirteenth (in some sources, eighteenth) and twenty-fourth Ramadans, respectively.
Muhammad (peace be upon him)is said to have received his first Quranic revelation on Laylat al-Qadr, one of five odd-numbered nights that fall during the last ten days of Ramadan.
Although Muslims were initially commanded to fast ,they believe that the practice of fasting has always been necessary for believers to attain the fear of God (taqwa). Pre-Islamic pagans of Mecca fasted on the tenth day of Muharram to expiate sin and avoid drought. Philip Jenkins argues that the observance of Ramadan fasting grew out of “the strict Lenten discipline of the Syrian Churches,” a postulation corroborated by other scholars, including theologian Paul-Gordon Chandler, but disputed by some Muslim academics.
Laylat al-Qadr is considered the holiest night of Ramadan. It is generally believed to have occurred on an odd-numbered night during the last ten days of Ramadan; the Dawoodi Bohra( a muslim community )believe that Laylat al-Qadr was the twenty-third night of Ramadan.
The correlation of Ramadan with crime rates is mixed: some statistics show that crime rates drop during Ramadan, while others show that it increases. Decreases in crime rates have been reported by the police in some cities in Turkey and Konya and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
A 2005 study found that there was a decrease in assault, robbery and alcohol-related crimes during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia, but only the decrease in alcohol-related crimes was statistically significant.
An Iranian cleric argues that fasting during Ramadan makes people less likely to commit crimes due to spiritual reasons. Fasting can stress people out, which can make them more likely to commit crimes. Police in UAE attributed a drop in crime rates to the “spiritual mood prevalent in the country”.
In Jakarta,Indonesia, police say that the traffic due to 7 million people leaving the city to celebrate Ramadan/EiD results in an increase in street crime.
During Ramadan, millions of pilgrims enter Saudi Arabia to visit Mecca. According to the Yemen Times, such pilgrims are usually charitable, and consequently smugglers traffic children in from Yemen to beg on the streets of Saudi Arabia.
The length of the dawn to sunset time varies in different parts of the world according to summer or winter solstices of the Sun. Most Muslims fast for eleven to sixteen hours during Ramadan. However, in polar regions, the period between dawn and sunset may exceed twenty-two hours in summer. For example, in 2014, Muslims in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Trondheim, Norway, fasted almost twenty-two hours, while Muslims in Sydney, Australia, fasted for only about eleven hours. In areas characterized by continuous night or day, some Muslims follow the fasting schedule observed in the nearest city that experiences sunrise and sunset, while others follow Mecca time.
Muslim astronauts in space schedule religious practices around the timezone of their last location on Earth. For example, this means an astronaut from Malaysia launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida would center their fast according to sunrise and sunset in Eastern Standard Time. This includes times for daily prayers, as well as sunset and sunrise for Ramadan.